MARQUETTE, Mich. Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚“ The Northern Michigan University hockey team took one step closer to Joe Louis Arena and the CentralCollegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Championship Tournament with a 4-1 winover the University of Nebraska-Omaha on Friday night at the Berry Events Center.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ The Wildcats lead the best-of-three series with the second game tomorrownight.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ NMU improves to 21-14-2 on the season.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ The Mavericks fall to 20-13-6.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚œWe had a lot of guys play up tonight,Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚ Walt Kyle said.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚œWe still have a lotof work left to do.Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚
The first three goals of the game were all scored on thepower play.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Matt Siddall gave the Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats the 1-0 lead with his sixth goal ofthe season at 4:06 of the first period.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Jamie Milam and Darin Olver assisted.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ UNO tied the score at one on a goal by Bill Thomas at 16:22 of the frame.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ DirkSouthern gave the Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats the lead for good (2-1) with his 11th goalof the season at 17:57 of the first period.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ SouthernÃƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚™s power-play goal wasassisted by Andrew Contois and Nathan Oystrick.
The Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats would add a goal in the second and third periodscompliments of Rob Lehtinen.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ He made the score 3-1 with his third goal of theseason at 8:40 of the second period.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Oystrick and Milam assisted.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Lehtinenmade the score 4-1 with his fourth goal of the season at 7:00 of the thirdperiod.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Dusty Collins and Bobby Selden were credited with the helpers.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚œIhave not scored that much this year,Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚ Lehtinen said.Ãƒ‚Ã‚
UNO had 26 shots on the night to 18 for NMU.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Bill Zanibonihad 25 saves for the Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚˜Cats.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚œThey got the puck and I just had to get back inthe net and throw something up there,Ãƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚ Zaniboni said about a save early in thegame.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Jerad Kaufmann turned away 14 shots for the Mavericks.Ãƒ‚Ã‚ Ãƒ‚Ã‚ NMU had fivepower play opportunities while the Mavericks had six.
Game two of the best-of-three is Saturday, March, 11 at 7:35p.m.